sat 13/07/2024

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Joseph Parsons / Njambi McGrath / Josh Jones | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Joseph Parsons / Njambi McGrath / Josh Jones

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Joseph Parsons / Njambi McGrath / Josh Jones

A sporting life, colonial heritage, and a camp comic

Joseph Parsons talks about his love of football

Joseph Parsons, The Mash House 

Joseph Parsons is wearing a Bristol City shirt for Equaliser, which is about being a gay man who loves football. Actually, he loves most sports – he's the kind of guy who will set his alarm to watch curling live at the Winter Olympics on the other side of the world – but football is his game and City are his team. The trouble is that for a big chunk of his life, gay men have often felt unwelcome in football (and, still, no gay Premiership footballer has come out).

This is a coming-out story of sorts, as Parsons describes his closeted teenage years and his discomfort in school PE changing rooms, melding the more serious stuff with lighter fare such as a tale about loutish Swindon fans on the Megabus and some cheeky material about the shape of the Fifa World Cup trophy. In one of a few pre-recorded inserts shown on the onstage screen we see that Parsons is a talented musician, too, and he shyly reveals that his ambition is to write an England World Cup song to knock "Three Lions" off its perch.

This is an entertaining debut from an immensely likeable performer.

Until 28 August


Njambi McGrath, Pleasance Courtyard 

“I'm from Kenya but have never run a marathon,” says Njambi McGrath at the top of her show Black Black, which explores race in modern-day, post-Brexit Britain in parallel with the colonial Kenya in which her grandmother lived.

McGrath makes some neat comparisons between her experience as a rebellious schoolgirl at an elite boarding school, and the British concentration camp her grandmother endured. But she clearly has inherited the older woman's spirit, McGrath ran away from what she saw as a prison, while her grandmother laughed in the face of guards who kept her in a literal one.

Even to keen students of the British Empire, much of what McGrath imparts about her grandmother's experiences may come as a shock – and there is much to discomfort those who harken back to the old days – but she leavens it with some decent gags.

Black Black sometimes feels like a TED talk but, despite a few weak payoffs, there is some very powerful and intelligent writing about religion, race and the white superiority complex.

Until 28 August


Josh Jones, Pleasance Courtyard 

How camp do you like your camp comedy? Well, if the answer is really camp, then Josh Jones is the guy for you. The 29-year-old Mancunian, making his Fringe debut, dials it up – “We get away with murder,” he says of being Northern and gay – and then some.

He's brimming with confidence, not least because, as he says, he can look after himself if anyone were to be daft enough to heckle. He has come up through the Northern club circuit and the tough apprenticeship shows; he demands attention and keeps the audience onside throughout.

His material is largely filthy – “I can do highbrow,” he insists, before adding: “I just choose not to” – but this born performer acts as daft as a brush, regaling us with stories about the mistakes he's made, including the time he confused canapés for carrots on live radio, or detailing the many injuries he has acquired over the years, including his “bum finger” (not what you think).

Jones delivers his material at breakneck speed and, as Waste of Space moves into some fairly detailed material about anal sex (not a line I have written before), some punters may be grateful the hour is ticking down.

Until 28 August

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